Maria Grazia Chiuri. Unless you’re a fan of luxury handbags, there’s really no reason for you to know that name, but for your edification, Chiuri is the director of womenswear for Christian Dior. Aside from the handbags, though, there is another reason why you may want to be familiar with Chiuri’s work. Dior recently unveiled a new Vespa 946 that was envisioned by Chiuri.
Way back in 1946, Vespa debuted their first scooter. Coincidently enough, that was the same year that Dior was founded. Flash forward to 2011 and the 946 came on the market. Each run of that model has come with its own limited edition color, and an almost $10,000 price tag. Dior took that monohull body and lavished it with a cream color topped off with gold trimming. Oblique striping finishes off the livery, while the signature motif of the Dior brand is found on the underside of the scooter’s blue seat (the motif also appears on the matching helmet and hard case).
While Dior fashioned the looks of the scooter, Vespa kept the specs squarely in their court. The Vespa 946 Christian Dior comes with a 125cc engine for most of the world. In North America, you’ll get a 150cc engine, which brings the scooter up to satisfy the requirements of US highways.
The engine is a 3-valve 4-stroke variety that uses air cooling and fuel injection to produce 12.7 horsepower for the North America unit and 11.6 for everywhere else. According to Vespa, the 946 offers 155 miles per gallon. Thanks to its 3-way catalytic converter, the Vespa has 30 percent lower emissions. You also get an LED headlamp, and LCD display, and traction control.
“I was very excited about this project with Vespa,” says Chiuri. “For me, Vespa is linked to my city, Rome. It’s linked to the freedom to move around the city with ease, like in the film Roman Holiday, which has left that extraordinary image of Audrey Hepburn clinging to Gregory Peck on a Vespa forever etched in our collective memory. I have so many happy memories starring a Vespa. It’s how my husband and I used to get around Rome and go to the seaside in Fregene. It’s a symbol of Italian-ness that is intricately linked to my personal history, and it’s now part of my professional life at Dior.”